Donald Trump called for a boycott of Apple Friday after the company refused to decrypt an iPhone for the FBI. The Republican front-runner said that Apple should be boycotted until it complies with the California court order asking the company to decrypt the phone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernardino shooters who killed 14 people in a rampage at a holiday party Dec. 2.
The phone, an iPhone 5C, was issued by Farook's employer, the city health department.
"What I think you oughta do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number," Trump said at an event in Pawleys Island, South Carolina. "The phone's owned by the government! Not even his phone!"
"Tim Cook is looking to do a big number, probably to show how liberal he is," Trump said.
The call follows previous comments from Trump that Apple needed to reverse its position, as he seeks to increase pressure on the company during the election season.
Trump was quickly criticized for his comments, however, as he appeared to have tweeted from an iPhone straight afterwards.
Right after Trump calls for Apple boycott. pic.twitter.com/sAIjBLJHPO
— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) February 19, 2016
Trump has become the latest politician in the presidential race to side with the FBI over the issue. On Wednesday, Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz came out in favor of the government at a CNN town hall event, with Cruz saying that resisting the request was akin to defying a search warrant.
Apple kickstarted a nationwide debate over encryption after CEO Tim Cook published a letter Tuesday explaining why the company would resist the court order. "The government is asking Apple to hack our own users and undermine decades of security advancements that protect our customers," Cook said.
Trump was quick to criticize Apple after the letter was published. "Who do they [Apple] think they are?" he asked on "Fox and Friends" Wednesday morning.
The comments were made the day before the South Carolina Republican primary, where Trump is looking to maintain momentum after a win in New Hampshire.